Ushahidi: Crowdsourcing Crisis Information


logo_ushahidi_580px4An increase in violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008 prompted a group of entrepreneurs and web developers to develop a website called Ushahidi to map reports of violence. The name Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, is an open-source tool that can be used for multiple purposes to bring about change in African and throughout the world. For example, the Ushahidi developers recently equipped an organization in South Africa with their technology to function as an awareness indicator of the violence against foreigners in Johannesburg. A member of Ushahidi points out in an article that ‘the great promise for technology in Africa is to bypass government inefficiencies and augment the already rich social networks that Africans are born into.’

The goal of the Ushahidi open-source tool goes beyond just crowdsourcing, which is the collection and distribution of data via mobile phones, email and the web. The management team at Ushahidi believes that combining technologies could also enhance the tracking of natural disaster response as well as contributing to the research of infectious diseases. The Ushahidi developers are currently building a new Ushahidi Engine that takes lessons from what happened in Kenya to build a platform that allows anyone around the world to gather reports by mobile phones, email and the web the way they’re currently doing in Africa.

Information on how to join the Ushahidi movement as a developer or even as a mouthpiece to get the word out about their open-source tool can be found at Interested developers should also check out their Developers Wiki site by clicking here.

Mikey Digital

Source: The Africa Report

One Response to “Ushahidi: Crowdsourcing Crisis Information”

  1. 1 Zip6

    You might want to also take a look at Maneno which while much different in scope than Ushahidi, it is being built from the ground up for an African audience and user base.

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